Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Checking myself into Maxwell House, which is like Betty Ford, but for caffeine addicts.

Thanks for all your letters, your encouraging comments, and of course the care packages overnighted to me filled with Coffee-Mate. You all have no idea what this means to me.

Wait a minute. No one did that! Guess who had to get out of her pajamas and go to the store- in freezing temperatures, no less? Who had to warm up the car for twenty-three minutes and scrape all the ice off the windsheild? Who wandered around the store, hair all a'muss, clothes on backwards, hopped up on codeine (to relieve pounding caffeine headache, only, of course) and in a complete fog searching for the dreamy, creamy, french vanilla beany nectar of the coffee creamer gods???? Huh? Huh? Just who exactly do you think ending up in that predicament?


This has got to stop. I'm putting an end to this right now.

Today is the first day of the rest of my
no-longer-dependent-on-caffiene life. I need to take back control. I will start as soon as I finish my tall hot cuppa steaming coffee (with french vanilla coffee-mate).

I can do this.

I will start to wean myself off this
substance. It has a demonic hold on my soul. And it can't be doing much for my anxiety issues, I suppose. It's going to be a little harder than it sounds. I've been using for a good 10 years.

It all started with a summer job at the "Unique Grind", which was a coffee shop and not a an artistic strip club as some might have assumed. I never even drank coffee before that. But it grew on me. A few months later I was back in school and the cafe was shut down. I started drinking coffee at home. Just one cup in the morning.

I started wanting a little "pick-me-up" in the afternoons, and found that coffee was doing the job so well, that I continued to use it whenever I felt that 2-4pm sluggishness.

At night, I'd drink a cup to stay up for clubbing. I mean, you can't hit any club untill after 11. That's when all the cool people come.

The next summer I was working in a drugstore. I was still drinking coffee at home. But there weren't any Dunkin' Donuts nearby where I could get my fix- keep in mind, this was in '96, before Starbucks had taken over every corner of every city and suburb. I quit after a year and took a job with The RoseCart Cafe. That's when this habit started to get really out of control.

I wasn't just drinking coffee anymore. I was onto espresso.

The Folgers and Maxwell House canned brands weren't doing it for me anymore. I needed something stronger. I started bring home bags of Guatemala Antigua from the cafe, which I ground with a newly purchased grinder. My mother thought it was a little too strong, but then she got a taste for it and requesting me to bring home other kinds like, Columbian, Sumatra, and French Roast.

A few years later, Starbucks came to town. People were paying four bucks and up for a cup of their brew. Grocery stores started to carry the beans, exposing the public to their seductive brand of coffee. Luring customers into the shops with the smell of fresh roasted toastiness and images of couples holding coffee mugs up to their noses, with their faces enveloped in steam.

Caribou Coffee has moved in down the street from me and they're even worse. Their cheery staff and goddamned good coffee is too hard to resist. The atmosphere, so alluring with it's ski lodge motif, cozy fireplaces, and enough cushy chairs for everybody and their caffeine addicted brother and you won't have to show up at 5am just to fight with another customer to get one. And of course, there's also a drive-thru for where you can get your fix without so much as leaving the confines of your vehicle.

A couple days later....

Took myself on over to Trader Joe's and picked up some Half-Caf Whole Beans the other day. So far, things are going okay. The coffee's still pretty good, I must admit. And there appears to be just enough caffeine to keep me from falling down and having a withdrawl seizure followed by hallucinations. I'm gonna keep weaning myself off. That's what my counsellor has advised me to do. I've got about 23 days left here at Maxwell House. I'm hoping to get out on a leave for the holidays, but they're pretty strict around here. Feel free to come and visit, write me a letter, or send me some flowers. And next time you have a nonfat-hafcaf-french-vanilla-latte with extra foam, remember to think of me.


At 12 December, 2005, Blogger David Amulet said...

You can do it! I went off caffeine several years back after too many shaky afternoons, fitfully slept nights, and manic runs around the quad in myriad manifestations of insanity. You'll feel much better in about a month, trust me.

Oh yes, I still do get coffee, just always the so-called decaf.

-- david

At 12 December, 2005, Blogger No_Newz said...

Too funny. You know you can do this. Sadly, your life resembles mine an awful lot. Without Coffee Mate, which our one and only store for 30 miles always runs out of, I am an icky bear. One of these days I might follow your lead. For now, I'll have a cup for ya. :)
Good luck!
Lois Lane

At 12 December, 2005, Blogger Metal Mark said...

I quit smoking seven years ago this week, but I think I will keep drinking coffee. I have cut my caffeine at times, but never been able to cut it out completely.

At 13 December, 2005, Blogger Ben Heller said...

I gave up coffee about a month ago. I'm gonna give it up again for New Year.....or maybe easter.

I never get the shakes, but I stick to ground organic coffee from a cafetiere.

Good luck, and I'll drink a Kenyan blend on your behalf.



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